Sunday, February 19, 2012

Duke Gardens in February

The first freezing precipitation of this winter is pelting the house. Yesterday, on a cloudy but warm  afternoon, I visited Duke Gardens to see what was in bloom. A few buds were starting to pop on the tulip magnolias. They are very susceptible to frost, so these adventurous buds may not survive the storm.


Fortunately, most of the buds are still neatly enclosed in their furry coats.


Duke Gardens is conscientious about labeling plants, but they neglected to tag the flowering fruit tree below. Japanese apricot? Japanese cherry? I lean toward apricot because it seems far too early for cherry blooms. 


I don't want to give a false impression that spring is here in central N.C. Here is the view from the garden's famous terraces. Note the unlabeled flowering fruit tree in the top left. 



Paperbush was in bloom in several spots in the garden, including in large pots. The flowers are fragrant. I'll add that to the growing list of plants I'd like in my next garden. 



This is one of the most natural-looking water features I've ever seen.


It seems early for hyacinths, but here they are.


An Algerian iris. These small irises are charming, I think. 


A path lined with hellebores (aka Lenten rose). 


A bed of winter jasmine grows alongside the path next to the pond.


Hope you enjoyed the short tour!

12 comments :

PlantPostings said...

Ah, the shot of the Magnolia breaking bud seriously took my breath away. At first I wasn't sure what it was, but when I scrolled down it became apparent. There's just something about Magnolias!! There's a magical scene (or maybe more than one) in the movie "Tree of Life" of Magnolias in bloom. So beautiful! Thanks for the tour!

sweetbay said...

I think the Prunus is an Okame Cherry. Okame flowers look like little bells and Apricot flowers look like little roses.

I haven't been to Duke gardens in many years but I remember the terrace well. Beautiful pictures.

HolleyGarden said...

I want to thank you for these photos. I've seen paperbush blooms, but never a bush shot. And I've seen hellebore blooms but hardly ever from afar. I love the way they look! Now I see what all the fuss is about! Winter blooms and beautiful foliage!

Sheila Read said...

Beth, I was so happy that photo turned out. I had a hard time getting close enough to a bud that was beginning to unfurl. I had to stand on a bench and hold the camera very close to the bud. I haven't seen Tree of Life, but the name alone makes me want to see it!

Sweetbay, thanks for the visit and the (almost) positive ID. I'll look up the Okame cherry info. I'm familiar with cherry trees from my years living in Washington, D.C., and this did look like a cherry to me. It's just that I associate cherry blooms with early April, not late February, though it has been a warm winter.

HolleyGarden, glad you like the photos. I deliberately decided to take some photos that showed entire plants. Sometimes I think we garden bloggers take so many closeup photos of flowers that we forget to capture the more realistic photos of the entire plant. I realized this when trying to find some photos of our garden for the realtor to post. Of all the thousands of photos I took in the yard in past months, very few were shots of the "big picture" of the garden.

Yes, the hellebores have lovely foliage year-round. And are poisonous (so deer-proof). They do look particularly wonderful lining sloping paths and massed under shade trees...

Donna@Gardens Eye View said...

What a lovely place to visit any season...I have hyacinths poking up with flowers just breaking the surface but staying put looking for a warm up..this week we warm to 40s...

Stacy said...

I do love formal gardens, especially when they're formal-ish (tea-length?) like these--nice, strong shapes to the hardscape, but the plantings allowed to take more or less their own shapes and a little more relaxed and natural. Thanks for the tour!

Wow--the very first freezing moisture this year???

Aimee said...

Oooh - I really love that cascading waterfall through the stones...you're right, it really does look natural. Well done. That hellebore path is lovely and the magnolia buds - ahh! I can hardly wait!

Karin / Southern Meadows said...

What a treat! Those could be cherry trees. Mine bloom early, usually beginning February...they are just past their peak now. The cold snap the other weekend did them in. The paperbush is stunning. I highly recommend them. Mine is full bloom now and I just stand next to it and inhale!

Sheila Read said...

Donna, today we warmed to 75! Yes, Duke Gardens is always worth the trip. I always mean to get there more than I actually do.

Stacey, I like the "tea-length" description. Seems apt for Duke Gardens ... Yes, it really was the first freezing rain and dusting of snow this winter. It's been exceptionally warm.

Aimee, I agree about the cascading waterfall and hellebores!

Karen, you're the second person to identify it as a likely cherry tree. It looks like a cherry to me, too - I just was surprised it was blooming in February! The paperbushes, scattered around the gardens, were a highlight. Some were quite small, some potted, and a couple were 6-8 feet tall, but all were stunning. I like the form and reddish color of the bark, too.

linniew said...

Good job getting in that lovely garden visit before the wintry weather arrived!

Sergios Landscaping said...

This place is simply beautiful. The landscaping and the mix of plants are just great. Even in cold weather, greenery can still abound with beauty.

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